Trainer Kite Practice – Basic Flying Skills

Once your trainer is in the air, it’s time to learn basic flying skills. The trainer kite practice exercises below are intended to get you to fly the kite until you feel comfortable with it, and will help build your capability at the same time.

These basic exercises will build your confidence and ability with the kite. Once you know them, you’re ready to conquer more complicated and intense moves.

Parking the Kite

Parking the kite simply means to keep your kite stationary. With your trainer kite, this spot will be in the edge of the wind window. You want to park your kite when you aren’t focused on your kite, you are preparing for a certain maneuver, or whenever you need your kite to be in the shoulder of the wind window (when you don’t want power, etc…).

Why is it important?

Parking you kite is an important skill because your kite will be parked on the edge of the wind window where it has little power. When here, you will be able to focus elsewhere without worrying about what it’s doing.

What to do – To park your kite, simply:
  1. Fly the kite to any spot at the edge of the wind window. As the kite approaches the edge it slows, eventually coming to a stop on the edge.

  2. Once the kite has come to a stop, your goal is to keep it in one spot. If the kite starts to drift in one direction, gently correct for the motion by steering it in the other direction. Make sure that you don’t overcorrect.

  3. Keep the kite in that spot until you know you have it under control and can keep it there for as long as you want.

Your Trainer Kite Practice

Sounds easy? Good. Now, your task is to practice parking your kite in these three spots.

  1. Park the kite directly overhead at the 12 o’clock position.
  2. Park the kite at about 10 o’clock.
  3. Park the kite at 2 o’clock (Yes, this is pretty much the same as the 10 o’clock spot, but make sure you don’t get better flying the kite on one side.)

Smooth Motions

This skill is simple but often overlooked. Steering the kite in a smooth and controlled manner is very important when you start flying larger kites. If you steer a large kite in a jerky fashion, the kites pull will vary, and thus, cause it to jerk. Imagine being towed by a wakeboarding boat that speeds up, then slows down, then speeds up, then slows down, then speeds up, then slows down… It makes my arms sore just thinking about it. In short, you want to steer your kites smoothly so you might as well start practicing now.

What to do - With time you will steer smoothly naturally. Here are some things you can do to help.

  • Pay attention when you are flying – if you ever feel a jerk and there was no gust of wind, you may be doing something to cause it. Try and figure out what it is and make it smoother.

  • Think about what you are going to do in advance – Often times a split second decision to do something results in a quick change in the kite’s movement; it’s this type of thing that causes the kite to jerk.

    • E.g. You realize that you are about to crash your kite so you suddenly increase the tightness of its turn. This will cause it to pull harder, giving you a slight tug. (of course this is preferable to crashing the kite, but you get the picture.)

  • Practice flying your kite in circles without adjusting the tightness of the turn. The pull of the kite should still increase, which is natural, but it will do it in a smooth manner.

Your Trainer Kite Practice

Practice steering your kite smoothly by trying these two exercises:
  1. Transition the edge of the wind window.
    • Park your kite at the 10 o’clock position on the edge of the wind window.
    • Once there, slowly and smoothly move your kite to the 2 o’clock position, always keeping it on the edge of the wind window.
    • Park the kite at 2 o’clock for a moment, then,
    • Slowly move the kite back to the 10 o’clock position, keeping it at the edge of the window.

  2. Fly a figure 8.
    • Fly your kite in a figure 8 pattern. The kite will naturally pull harder in some spots, so your task is to keep steering it smoothly so that it does not jerk.

Flying Figure Eights

Flying figure eights will get you comfortable flying your kite all over the wind window, steering your kite, and will help you practice steering smoothly. In addition, the vertical figure eight is the basic movement to what kiters call ‘sine-ing’, which is a way to create more power while moving.

What to do - Steer your kite in a figure eight pattern both vertically and horizontally across the wind window as illustrated below.

Wind Window Figure 8

Wind Window Vertical Figure 8

Your Trainer Kite Practice

Fly the Figure 8’s until they feel natural. They don’t have to be perfectly horizontal or vertical since you don’t use the figure 8 when kiteboarding, but they are a great exercise to get used to flying your kite and to practice steering smoothly.

Power Strokes

The Most Important Trainer Kite Practice Exercise on this Page!

Power strokes are where the rubber hits the road and are the most important trainer kite practice exercise on this page - get good at them! You use them when you want to generate a lot of power with your kite, and are most often used when water-starting or getting up on your board. Depending on how much power you need, you can do a power stroke for low, medium, and high power.

What to do:

Low Power Power Stroke

Low Power Power-Stroke:

  1. Start with you kite at 12 o’clock.

  2. Dive the kite from 12 o’clock to 2:30. The kite will generate power as it passes through the wind window. If you were kiteboarding, and this was enough power, you would be able to water-start. If not, you would sink back into the water.

  3. The kite will fly to the edge of the wind window, you can reset and practice again – this time start at 12 and dive your kite to 9:30.

Medium Power Power Stroke

Medium Power Power-Stroke:

  1. Start with your kite at 11 o’clock.

  2. Dive your kite from 11, through the wind window, to 2:30. The kite will generate power as it passes through the window.

  3. Once your kite reaches the edge of the window, fly it up to 1 o’clock and dive it to 9:30.

High Power Power Stroke Trainer Kite

High Power Power-Stroke:

  1. Start with your kite at 10 o’clock.

  2. Fly the kite across the wind window to 2:30. The kite will be flying directly through the power zone, so it should be generating its maximum amount of power.

  3. Once the kite reaches 2:30, move it to 2 o’clock and drive it back through the power zone to 9:30.

Your Trainer Kite Practice

Practice 6 power strokes – Low, medium, and high power in both directions.
Once you have the power strokes mastered, try this:

  1. Sit down with your feet in front of you,
  2. Do a low power power-stroke and see if the kite pulls you to your feet. If it doesn’t, try a medium power stroke. If that still does not pull you to your feet, do a high power stroke!

Power Stroke Video


That's all for this round of trainer kite practice. You should now have a good grasp on controlling and steering the kite, and with practice, you will always get better (This is important. Once you have your trainer kite, practice these skills and the others in these pages as much as you can.)

Next, read Advanced Training Kite Exercises Pt. 1 to start learning advanced maneuvers and start building transferable skills. These exercises get you building habits that you need when kiteboarding!

Return to Trainer Kites (from Trainer Kite Practice) for all you need to know about trainer kites!

Return Home (from Trainer Kite Practice) for more information on kiteboarding.

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